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IES Abroad Christchurch DE - University Of Canterbury

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A Semester in Christchurch, New Zealand

I had the most incredible experience in New Zealand, and choosing to study abroad through the IES Program was a decision I'm so glad I made. Preparation for my semester abroad started long before I boarded the plane, and the IES Program was there with an advisor to answer some questions that I had. The IES website is also very informative, and I got a lot of relevant information from other students' blogs.

What appeals to me (and my family) most about the IES program is how organized it is. This company knows what it is doing! If there is anything to be alarmed about, the program emails our families. There was a bit larger-than average size earthquake at one point in Christchurch and IES emailed my family just to inform them and let them know everything was safe and okay. The program director for Christchurch is extremely informative, helpful, and kind. (Shout-out to Eunice!). She was the mom of our group and it was really comforting to have her insider knowledge of Christchurch and her assistance with any questions we had there with us from the start to the end of our program.

In addition, I really appreciated the NZ orientation that took place before we started the academic semester, and the spring break field trip to Rarotonga, Cook Islands. That was a magical place/cultural experience that I'm not sure I would have had time to visit otherwise, and I'm so happy I got the chance to through IES. Choosing to study abroad through the IES Program gave me the chance to know a group of people from all over the United States that I had a chance to connect with before the semester started. I appreciated having a group from the US that shared similar experiences to me as a student studying in another country.

I highly recommend studying abroad through IES!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A great semester in Christchurch!

I had an amazing time studying abroad in Christchurch through IES. First off, the IES staff back in the US were helpful leading right up to when I left for New Zealand, and, Eunice, the program director in Christchurch, was so nice. She was always willing to talk or help you figure out scheduling, things to get involved in the community, etc. - she's great and made all of our IES meetings fun.
There is really only one negative thing to say about my semester in Christchurch. For housing, all IES students live in international student apartments. You may have a kiwi flatmate or two, or a few flatmates from various countries throughout the world, but you may also get flatmates from the US. I got along great with my US flatmates and spent a lot of time with them, but it would've been fun to live with locals. If you didn't explore the Ilam Apartments or branch out from them, it could be really hard to meet kiwis or to feel like you're a part of the community. Otherwise - the apartments were nice and quite spacious.
The semester offered plenty of time for traveling but also for exploring Christchurch which is a great city especially once you get to know it. I'd definitely take a few weekends and just spend them in Christchurch. Traveling around New Zealand is great, but there is so much around UC like Sumner Beach, Port Hills, Akaroa, etc. Christchurch is a great, easy city to live in.
The best way to meet and befriend kiwis was to join clubs and to get out into the community. There are a ton of sport clubs which are great and have fun outdoor trips nearly every weekend. There are also clubs like Student Volunteer Army which hold volunteer events every weekend and even a few trips throughout the South Island. SVA is great because a ton of international and local students are a part of it and it is a great way to get involved in the community. I'd also highly recommend volunteering at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve if working with animals is of interest to you. It was a great way to meet Christchurch locals and you get to care for a bunch of different animals (wallabies!).
Overall, it was an incredible semester. Planning and executing travel is pretty easy within New Zealand and you definitely have a lot of time to do so. There are so many tracks, lakes, coastal towns, etc. that are just great to hike around and explore. I felt safe everywhere I went and met so many helpful kiwis. It was incredible getting out there and seeing New Zealand but also finding at home in Christchurch!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An amazing outdoor experience!

I probably spent more time using my sleeping bag than my actual bed during my semester at Canterbury. With all of the amazing hikes, adventure sports and stunning scenery everywhere you go, it's hard to not to be out there at every possible moment. Christchurch's central location really makes it easy to spend most of your weekends discovering it all.

Surprisingly though, I think one of the best parts about studying at Canterbury was student life on campus. There was always a variety of things going on, from tramping expeditions to casual barbecues to upscale balls. All the clubs are also extremely inclusive in the sense that you can join anything that interests you, no matter who you are or what experience you have.

The best decision I made this semester was getting involved with UCCC, the white water kayaking club at UC. I went into the first kayaking trip not knowing what I was getting myself into, but I'm so glad that I did. UCCC allowed me to meet some of the funniest and most helpful people around, while learning a challenging and exciting new sport in the process. Everything about the trips, from kayaking down insane rapids to the banter around the campfire, was absolutely fantastic. Highly recommend.

The only qualm I had about the entire semester was the housing. You're placed in Ilam Apartments, which are great in terms of amenities and cleanliness, but mainly international students live there. While it's still easy to get out and meet kiwis through clubs and classes, going back home to other Americans can be strange. However, this did make it really easy to find people to travel with!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Even better than I expected

My semester abroad was even better than I had hoped for. People in New Zealand are so friendly, and the country is extremely beautiful. I did lots of traveling and hiking with people I met, especially in the South island. The country is super safe, you can stay in hostels for pretty cheap, and it is easy to get a bus ticket for pretty much anywhere you want to go.

The program director is super nice and helpful. I noticed that students in the IES program were better prepared and knowledgeable than people who used other study abroad programs. In the first week of being there is a trip & a number of activities like city scavenger hunt so you get to know the other people in your program, know your way around Christchurch, and learn about the city and school. This made it a super easy transition. The IES trip during semester break to Rarotonga was so well planned out and one of the most fun weeks of the semester.

The flats that you live in are nice (5 people, 2 bathrooms, plus a kitchen & living room). It is nice to live within close proximity to others and it is also a good way to get to know more people, both study abroad and local students. I really liked the University of Canterbury, I took upper-level business classes & with careful planning was able to get full credit from my home university.

My study abroad experience was very wonderful. It was honestly so much better than I had imagined. I was able to visit many neat places, make many friends from NZ & around the world, and really experience life in Christchurch. I HIGHLY recommend this program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Mountainous and Momentous Semester

New Zealand is an incredible country. The people are welcoming, friendly, and extremely genuine, and the landscape and outdoor environment are breathtaking. I choose this program largely based on a love of the outdoors, and a desire to explore the natural environment. I was able to do that as well as experience a new culture and lifestyle. The IES staff was wonderful, and helpful at each step of the way. The mid-semester trip coordinated by IES to the Cook Islands was a great opportunity as well, one that would not have been available on my own. My time in NZ was memorable and momentous.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    6

Absolutely Unforgettable

I chose New Zealand because it’s a country that speaks English and it was affordable. I also chose it because it’s a country you typically wouldn't travel to later in life. I also chose it because I love nature and I knew I would be outside a lot if I went there. It was also a much smaller program than Auckland which I liked.

I lived in Ilam Apartments, which were really conveniently located. I lived with 2 Kiwi boys, a Kiwi girl and an independent study abroad girl from NYC. We each had our own room, which was bigger than I expected. Only the 6 person apartments had laundry machines, and those people are usually really good about letting others come over and do theirs for free.

Biggest challenge? Budgeting. I wanted to go everywhere and do everything and experience as much as I could. Things added up though. I prioritized saving my money for travelling rather than going out to eat, buying a lot of alcohol, or buying clothes. A great website to help you score major deals on activities while in a different city is bookme.co.nz This website is a lifesaver! Captain Bens, Dominos, Spagalimis, and Pepe’s are cheap places to eat. Kmart in the mall is the cheapest place to buy necessities. Pak-n-Save is the cheapest grocery store followed by Countdown, followed by New World. Definitely get a metro card, it saves a lotttt of money in the long run.

It was nice to have support and a guaranteed group of friends when you first get there. Orientation was a blast, you get to go jet boating for free, and you get to go to places around Christchurch you might not think to go to. There were meetings once a month to check in, always with free food. Also, the Rarotonga fieldtrip that IES gives us the opportunity to go on was by far one of my top experiences. It was probably at least 1/3 of what it would cost to go independently and you wouldn't be as integrated with the locals and their culture.

The one downfall to IES was that we weren't allowed to rent or drive cars. Naked Bus can get expensive and limit where you can go/where you can stop along the way. It could be difficult since they drive on the other side of the road and on the other side of the car but after being a passenger for a while it looked natural and instinctual. Gas was expensive but if you ride with 4 or 5 people it will still be cheaper than taking the bus everywhere (and much more enjoyable). Also, it could be a little unorganized in the beginning. I had no idea where I was living (what apt #), with whom, how many people, or anything like that until I arrived at Ilam. Another difficult thing was getting there by 12pm. I had to leave my house at like 3am to time it correctly. A later time would have been more convenient.

With all that being said, I absolutely loved my experience. I got so much out of it and I will never ever forget my time there. It's life changing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    8

Semester in Christchurch

I had the time of my life in NZ, memories that I would cherish forever and ever. Eunice, the IES program director is beyond words. She helped make the experience as wonderful as it was. I learned so much academically, culturally, and about myself. I made friends for a lifetime, and I miss my time there each day. I would give it a 11 out 10. If you are looking for a friendly, adventurous, English-speaking country, NZ is the place to go.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing. I'd do it again if I got the chance...

This program was perfect. As an inexperienced traveler, I was nervous about going half way around the world. The program director, Eunice was an absolute sweety, she made us all feel at home and was easily accessible if needed. The people I lived with were all welcoming and we had some great conversations about the differences between our cultures. The other people on the program were friendly as well, all 18 of us got along well. It was a great experience being in the university itself as opposed to an IES center that you would be in in most other countries. I felt like I really got to experience what it was like to be a Kiwi student in the academic as well as social aspect. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

Living in Middle Earth

The best part of studying abroad in New Zealand was being able to see a variety of landscapes all in close proximity to each other. Glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, and oceans were were just hours away. IES was an extremely great way for me to meet the people who are now some of my very best friends. IES’s orientation allowed me to get to know people, make friends, and feel at home within just a few days. Also, living in Middle Earth is something I will never be able to forget.

IES Christchurch was an amazing program, but there are a few flaws. IES Christchurch did not permit the students to drive cars. This was quite difficult, because the buses take many hours longer to reach a destination than a car, due to the constant stops the buses have to make. Taking a bus can get quite expensive, and buses do not allow you to stop, take pictures, and explore places that you find interesting along the way. IES was also not very organised when I first arrived. I was not given information about where I would be going on the orientation trip and what I would need until a couple of days before. Even when I was given a sheet of what to bring, I was still confused about what activities would be occurring for my week in Springfield. I absolutely loved my orientation, but I remember worrying that I would not bring the proper clothes and supplies for the activities, because of the lack of details.

I brought everything that I needed, but I do wish that I brought more sweaters and a better variety of footwear. I ended up having to purchase Ked-like shoes to walk around campus, because I only packed my LL Bean boots, sneakers, flip flops, and a pair of oxford flats. I also did not realize how chilly it would become in New Zealand toward the end of my Spring program. I ended up purchasing a new hoodie and wearing the same sweaters. It is difficult to pack for a place where the weather can be four seasons in one day. Definitely bring a rain jacket, rather than an umbrella, everywhere you go, because it tended to rain randomly each day for short periods of time.

This experience has made me see the world in a whole new light. I now realize that I have a strong travel bug. My time abroad made me recognise that I definitely want to move abroad directly after college. Now that I have experienced living independently all the way around the world from my family and friends, I have realized that I can live anywhere. I am now looking into practicing occupational therapy in different countries, because I shadowed occupational therapists in an assortment of settings, such as an acute care facility and a forensic psychology hospital, while abroad. I want to combine my love of occupational therapy and my strong interest in different cultures by moving and working abroad. I do not want to be stuck in one place, and travelling abroad will open a variety of professional and personal opportunities for me.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Awesome Experience

I had a incredible hike on Avalanche Peak. The mountaintops were still covered with snow.

I chose the program because I love the outdoors and LOTR.

I lived in an apartment with a bunch of students from various countries. So fun!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Awesome Experience

I had a wonderful time in Christchurch, hiking and enjoying the outdoors. The program leader was very welcoming and kind. The country is so beautifully rugged. If you enjoy the outdoors and want to learn more about a different culture, go on the IES Abroad Christchurch Program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

ChCh is awesome

If you are interested in the outdoors, Christchurch is a perfect base for hiking, climbing, snow sports, everything. I loved the city at night, the proximity to the mountains and the beaches. I really enjoyed the classes. I went to Uni of Canterbury and the classes were really interesting but not very hard so you learn a lot but you don't have to do much work to keep your GPA high. I would recommend living in the apartments if you are a party person but I lived with a family (one older lady) and it was good because you don't have to worry about food. Christchurch is really a great city and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

IES Christchurch

I knew I wanted to study abroad with IES because of the programs they offered: orientation, field trips, and on departing the country. My study abroad experience was truly the best I could have asked for. Christchurch is a great city as it serves as the "central hub" in the south island, so there are lots of opportunities to travel not only around the south island, but the north island as well. Over our three week break, IES set up a field trip to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, and it was so remarkable. Not only was it a totally new cultural experience, but we also had time for snorkeling, and much more. IES was everything I wanted out of my study abroad program, and I recommend it to any and all of my friends who are thinking about studying abroad, especially in New Zealand!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

IES Christchurch

An absolutely AMAZING program and experience.... Christchurch is a wonderful city to study in, especially if you are planning on exploring the South Island. It's a fun little place... the downtown area is fun to explore and easy to get around.

Really enjoyed the classes... actually learned a lot and were some of the best classes I've taken in college. I only took 3... 2 Geography classes and 1 Geology class... NZ is the perfect place to study those subject!

If you have the opportunity, travel as much as you can... there is really no place like NZ, amazing places, food, people, and experiences I will never forget!!

IES' program was awesome, it was a great size, the staff in both NZ and the US are amazing and so helpful!! Overall, such a great experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

I did the Christchurch program for the fall...

I did the Christchurch program for the fall of 2007 and had the time of my life. Our program director was so nice, accessible, and helpful and really helped create a sense of family within our group. I loved the trips organized by IES and felt everything was really well planned. New Zealand is amazing, such a beautiful country full of awesome and friendly people. I would very highly recommend this program!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A semester in the clouds: Aotearoa

From the moment I stepped off the plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, I felt cared for by IES. The program director, Eunice, expressed such great care and love for all of us throughout the duration of the program. She planned a fantastic orientation that not only familiarized us with the city of Christchurch, but also took us on a field trip that exposed us to the more rustic side of New Zealand complete with mountains, caves, and canyons. She met with all of us individually at the start and end of the semester. She organized an incredibly budget-friendly field trip to the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands over one week of Spring Break. She was both our Kiwi mother and first Kiwi friend.

I never regretted my decision to study abroad in Christchurch. I will admit I was a little nervous as to what condition the city would be in when I arrived, if the effects from the 2011 earthquake would still be evident. And to be honest, the destruction caused by the earthquake is still very obvious in the city center; construction can be found around almost every corner, and vacant lots are innumerable. However, the earthquake also seemed to ignite a spirit of determination in the residents of Christchurch that no number of earthquakes could destroy. The city has become a hub of innovation, with green spaces, modern art pieces, and even a site affectionately known as the “Dance-O-Mat” filling the vacant lots while they await construction. There is no shortage of activities, museums, festivals, and parks in Christchurch. To me, it was the perfect “happy medium” city. Because of its location and size, traveling to other parts of the South Island and even the North Island was relatively simple. If you desire to really get to know your host city as well as travel frequently around your host country, Christchurch could be the perfect home base for your study abroad!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

University in New Zealand

New Zealand is a great place to study geology and spend lots of time outdoors. Christchurch is still fairly quiet for a city, as it is still recovering from recent earthquakes, but living there for a semester proved to be a very good experience. It was a good cultural experience to see how the city has responded to the earthquakes and come together as a community.

I was initially very disappointed to learn that IES had discontinued the homestay option for this program, but in the end I was very satisfied with my student apartment, which was a great way to meet other students and engage in university social life. Some students in my IES group did manage to arrange a homestay, but they had to arrange it themselves without any help from IES.

The IES program was often quite disorganized, but the on-site program director, Eunice, was wonderful and was always very approachable and willing to help. The best part about studying abroad with IES was the organized mid-semester trip to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. It happened to rain a lot while we were there, but Eunice managed to reorganize our scheduled activities so that we managed to fit everything in (Biking, snorkeling, hiking, etc.)

As a direct-enrollment program, this program is best for people who are able to take their own initiative to interact with the local culture and people.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Galavanting on the South Island

It's extremely difficult to pinpoint my favorite or most memorable experience, but one of my favorites was climbing in the Port Hills, just outside of Christchurch. With a few friends from the program, we spend the entire day on the rocks - probably 8 hours or so. It was challenging yet rewarding, and we were completely immersed in it. We also enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the harbor, with the Southern Alps glowing purple, as the sun descended.

I lived in student flats with other international students. Everyone had their own bedroom, and a shared kitchen and bathroom, plus a living room area for each flat [3-6 people per flat]. I lived with another girl from the US, a guy from Singapore, a guy from China, and a guy from Auckland.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Give It A Go

One of my best experiences I had was trekking up a mountain to an observatory to catch the Aurora Australis - or the Southern Lights. The surrounding area is under a "low light zone" so that stars are much more easily seen, and the town is just far enough south so you can see the various colors in the sky.

IES was the choice for me because I was able to go on a week-long mid-semester trip to the Cook Islands, which is a 4-hr plane ride north of New Zealand. Essentially it is New Zealand's version of Hawaii - a tropical paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!

I lived comfortably in a modest flat on university grounds with a Kiwi, a guy from Malaysia, and two guys from India. It was a furnished flat, only 5 minutes walking distance from uni and 5-10 minutes walking distance to the nearest grocery store. Public transportation is readily accessible and easy.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Galavanting on the South Island

I spent the fall semester of my junior year in Christchurch, and I regard it as one of the best experiences of my life. The social climate and way of life is laid back and foreigners are welcomed with genuine friendliness. Kiwis are extremely hospitable and outgoing people; I found getting to know them really enriched my experience, in learning their perspectives. The country itself is spectacular, with countless outdoor opportunities, such as climbing, hiking, kayaking, etc .In terms of the program itself, I found that IES had a wonderful on-site staff there, and the field trips and programs they organized were all very valuable and a lot of fun. It was good to have a base group of friends and people with which to approach so many new experiences. The country as a whole felt very safe, and was easy to travel throughout. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Give It A Go

Christchurch, New Zealand is a city of roughly 300,000 is nestled in the eastern-middle of the southern island. To me, this was ideal because arguably the most scenic / beautiful areas are within a reasonable driving distance.

Living Situation:
I lived in a university flat with one native and three other foreigners. The flat was of decent size and had everything that you need to live comfortably / modestly.

Cultural Immersion:
I lived with a Kiwi, a Malaysian, and two guys from India. One of the most positive experiences in my life was getting to know them and becoming friends with them. During

Program Administration:
IES did a great job handling everything - and the Christchurch coordinator was one of the best people to talk to. She was extremely helpful and a ton of fun to have around!

Health and Safety:
New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world. Going out alone at night is, although not recommended, is relatively safe. The most dangerous thing in this country is yourself.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

I spent my 2008 spring semester in Christchurch...

I spent my 2008 spring semester in Christchurch and had the time of my life. IES did a fantastic job of choosing compatible people for the trip and our whole group was very close. Our director was also fantastic and did a great job of making us feel at home. Most of us lived in the international housing (a few did home stays and loved it), which meant we had a good mix of Americans, Kiwis, and many other nationalities (I had German flatmates). This program is great for people who think they cannot study abroad due to challenging/inflexible majors. Through this program you directly enroll in the university and are able to take almost any class that is offered in the US. I was able to take four major courses that transfered perfectly. Christchurch itself is a extremely friendly and safe city that has great night life. Traveling around NZ is extremely easy and you are provided with many opportunities to see the country. Most people have at least 3 day weekends (depending on their schedule) and you have three weeks off for spring break along with several other long weekends. NZ is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth and should not be missed. If you like to do anything outdoors- hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, biking, surfing- this trip is made for you. I would do this trip again in a heart beat if I could.